Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in the first practice session of the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix to make it a one-two for Mercedes AMG PETRONAS.
It was a battle between team-mates through Free Practice 1 as the Briton and Nico Rosberg outperformed each other. Fifteen minutes into the session, they were setting lap times under Daniel Ricciardo’s fastest lap at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix of 1:18.063s.
Forty-five minutes into the session, the German was the first driver to drop under one minute sixteen seconds with a time of 1:15.835s. Hamilton was quick to respond with a time of 1:15.537s to drop Rosberg to second and keep the top spot until the end.
Behind Rosberg was the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel who led the Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Verstappen finished the session only 0.063s behind his team-mate to round out the top five. Daniil Kvyat finished ahead of the Sahara Force India duo in sixth, with only 0.137s between Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
Kimi Raikkonen finished the session with a time of 1m16.912s to finish ahead of the second Scuderia Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. Just missing out of the top ten was the first Williams Martini Racing of Valtteri Bottas, 0.432s behind Sainz. Coming out of the tunnel, Bottas catches some oversteer but manages to save the car.
Romain Grosjean finished the session in twelfth with a time of 1m17.599s with the McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso splitting the two Haas F1 drivers. Esteban Gutierrez had an interesting run when his VF-16 stopped at Portier, reporting of something wrong with the engine. Behind Gutierrez was the second McLaren of Jenson Button in fifteenth.
The first Sauber of Felipe Nasr finished ahead of the Renault of Kevin Magnussen in sixteenth with a time of 1:18.187s. Nasr was the first of many drivers who experienced lock-ups heading into Turn 1 of Ste Devote, he managed to avoid the barriers and return to the race. Magnussen had problems breaking when heading towards the chicane but corrected himself by straight lining the chicane.
Marcus Ericsson finished the session in eighteenth with a time of 1:18.301s, only 0.114s behind team-mate Nasr. Felipe Massa had a disappointing session when it was cut short when he crashed into the barriers at St Devote. A corner where in the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, he collided with the barriers in Free Practice Three and the race on Sunday. Before the incident, the Brazilian set a time seventh fastest but finished the session in nineteenth.
Jolyon Palmer set a time of 1:18.871s to finish in twentieth, like Massa the Briton’s session was cut short after hitting the barrier at the exit of Tabac. This led to a virtual safety car while Palmer limped to the exit of the Swimming Pool. Rio Haryanto set a time of 1:20.528s to finish the session ahead of Manor Racing team-mate Pascal Wehrlein.
FP1 finished three minutes before the end after an incident with a drain cover. Rosberg managed to lift the cover which caused him to have a left rear puncture and limping back to the pits. Closely behind him was Button with the flying debris causing damage to the right-hand side of his front wing.
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